Nursing and Medical Care of Muslims in the German Health Care System

Pflegerische und medizinische Versorgung der Muslime im deutschen Gesundheitswesen

Questions of cultural difference and transculturality have in recent years gained growing importance in medical and bio-ethics. Global migration, taking place for reasons of economics, politics, and existential grounds, has generated in those societies affected by the migration processes a plurality of moral values that presents new challenges to medical decision-making and procedures. The encounter between doctor and patient as representatives of different cultures and religions has by now become a medical commonplace in societies with a plurality of values and is perceived as a problem by patients as well as those in the health care profession. The differing worldviews and moral values produce in medical practice a broad spectrum of comprehension problems or even conflicts of interest between doctors or nursing professionals and Muslim patients that can be traced back to religious-cultural background.

The subject of culture is barely given due attention in its normative and medical meaning in medical and bio-ethical research and teaching, let alone integrated into medical and nursing training. This deficient engagement with concrete, culturally conditioned ethical fields of conflict in the training of doctors and nurses leads to an inadequate cultural sensibility and expertise, thereby creating uncertainty about doctors’ and nurses’ procedures and decisions. This in turn makes for suboptimal care and observation of the patients’ well-being.

Objective: The dissemination of basic knowledge concerning the preferences and moral values of Muslim patients, who number roughly 3.4 million in Germany, and the opportunity for an exchange of experiences among health care professionals could enable a better orientation in coping with these patients, thus improving their nursing and medical care.

The scope of this project aims to improve the nursing and medical care of Muslims in the German health care system with two contributions:

  1. The publication of a practice-oriented book for doctors, nursing staff, and multipliers concerning Muslim culture, religious practices, and moral values—and their significance for states of health and sickness.
  2. The networking of experts, doctors, nursing staff, and multipliers in the medical field as well as access to the results of this research project by means of an interactive Internet portal.

Term of Project: 2006-2007
Funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation (Robert Bosch Stiftung)

Project Members:
Dr. Ilhan Ilkilic (Dr. Med., Dr. Phil.) (History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine)
Prof. Abdullah Takim (Dr. phil.) (Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main)